Rethink Homeless: The Working Poor

Donate my car to help those in the workforce?

“Why don’t they just get a job?”

A question you hear, or perhaps might have even thought, while passing an individual asking for spare change, stooped against a downtown building, surrounded by his few belongings.

But, despite long-standing belief, many of the 2,500 individuals and families who reside in our shelters and housing facilities work, or regularly go out in search of employment. Those living without a place to call home are not freeloaders, looking for a hand out or a complimentary place to rest their heads.

Actually, quite the opposite. Often, they are in our housing programs for reasons other than laziness—the cycle of poverty due to low wages, transitional need and matters of emergency, among others.

The working poor

What happens when you work one, two, three jobs and still can’t make ends meet? That’s the predicament many Americans find themselves in. In central and eastern Ohio, 55 percent of citizens have had to choose between paying for housing and paying to eat.

If an individual isn’t making at least $18.92 per hour, then the chance at a two-bedroom rental home in America is out. The problem: $18.92 is more than two-and-a-half times the national minimum wage. That means even a full-time minimum wage worker cannot afford a one or two-bedroom rental unit at Fair Market Rent in any U.S. state.

So, how can a minimum wage worker pull themselves up by their bootstraps to start earning a higher wage and get into a home? Education. But, what if they can’t even afford bootstraps? If someone is born into a low-income family when one or both of their parents aren’t college-educated, thus likely earning them close to minimum wage, higher education can be difficult to afford.

The risk of an unstable job

Job security and job stability are other reasons people can face homelessness.

The sudden loss of a job and reduction in wages or hours can mean an individual can’t keep up on their rent or mortgage, ultimately leading to eviction or foreclosure.

With the amount of jobs still not to what it was before the 2009 collapse, paired with continuing layoffs, the subsequent loss of homes has increased the need for emergency and transitional housing while individuals regain their economic footing and return to their normal lives.

The game of life

Imagine earning above minimum wage, maintaining savings and owning or renting a home when a tragedy takes hold of your life. A accident, medical discovery, illness or death of someone close can take one away from their job and drain an individual of their finances, forcing to cash in their investments and, sometimes, seek help.

Our emergency shelter services were created for those circumstances. By offering our clients a meal and a bed, they can focus on rehabilitation. Through supportive services and referrals to community resources, we help rebuild a foundation for people who thought they were beyond reach.

Donate my car to Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio?

Considering vehicle donation?

For more than a century, we've believed in the power of housing as the foundation for life. After all, housing is more than four walls and a roof, it is the many programs we offer to address the different needs of each individual and family we serve to end homelessness.

By donating your extra or unused car, truck, motorcycle, RV or boat to Volunteers of America Greater Ohio, you can help us provide critical services that promote our goal of stabilization and sustainability.

Even if your vehicle isn’t running, we can arrange free same-day towing to pick it up. Additionally, you could make more money from your vehicle as a tax-deductible donation than you would selling it through the classifieds.